Band is offered every other day, and you can either sign up for it all year, or by the semester. Over the last ten or so years, it's become that a majority of band kids are in it for just the fall or just the spring. There are so many offerings and choices and pressures on these kids. I have decided that rather than 'fight city hall', I will take these parameters and resources, and try to work them into the most attractive and valuable program that I can. This is what this school wants, and I am paid to provide the best possible product I can with the material I am given. I maintain that I do no better to advocate for music and the band than to be the best teacher I can be.
Block scheduling throws up some real road blocks for ensembles. Much of what we do thrives on continuity, and a block schedule can interrupt that. I will always have the core group of students that show up whenever or wherever there is a band in which to play, and I will always have the group of students that will have the conflicts. Block scheduling affects those kids in the middle. Some are able to participate easier due to the schedule, some who have a more difficult time.
I will say that, despite being led to believe for many years that once a student takes a hiatus from playing, it is very difficult to get them back. In my situation, this doesn't seem to be the case as much as I had expected. Many students continue to study their instruments privately as the year goes on, and are ready to come back when they once again are scheduled. They are often playing outside of the school day in the jazz. marching, or pit groups during their hiatuses as well. It can work.
One of the most significant difficulties I run across is keeping the sections of which there are often not many players full, such as horn and double reeds.
I am not compelled to draw some valuable conclusion for you here. While some might look at our program and argue the contrary, I say we are making it work. We have to start almost from scratch in February, and that makes the March large group festival not really feasible for us, but so be it. That's how we do it, and we kind other ways of getting outside feedback. I am not joining the fight to save block scheduling, but I'm not taking up arms against it either. I'll just keep teaching.
I do make a really big deal in the spring concert about the seniors with eight semesters of high school band behind them. I'll admit that.
I'll let you know what the district decides.